August 29, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Nats Miss Key Opportunities, Fall to Cards 5-2

It’s a safe bet the Washington Nationals are ready to leave Busch Stadium.

Doug Fister struggled in what amounted to the Nats’ 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Oddly enough, the Nats’ bats weren’t completely silent. The offense rounded up eight hits on the night, including five against St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia (W, 3-0).

What failed to help Washington’s chances, however, was the fact that the offense stranded 10 base runners and went just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Fister retired the side in the first before allowing a lead-off single to Allen Craig in the second. The next batter – Matt Adams – homered on an 84 MPH cutter to put the Cardinals up 2-0 early. Fister gave up two more singles in the inning – to Jon Jay and Tony Cruz – but pitched out of the inning without allowing additional runs to score.

That only held true until the next half-inning, however, when Matt Holliday hit a solo shot to make it 3-0.

In the top of the fifth, the Nats were handed a bit of luck. Danny Espinosa hit a lead-off single and took second on a wild pitch. Both Sandy Leon and Fister failed to advance Espinosa but, after Anthony Rendon walked, Nate McLouth hit a two-out single to keep the inning alive with the bases loaded.

Much to the Nats’ fortune, Jayson Werth drew a walk to bring home Espinosa and trim the Cardinals’ lead to two runs.

That is, until the bottom of the inning.

Kolten Wong led off with a triple and came home on a sacrifice fly by Holliday to make it 4-1 St. Louis.

In the seventh, the Nats called upon Ross Detwiler to relieve Fister, but the move didn’t stop the Cardinals from tallying another run.

With two outs, Holliday walked and came home on a double by Allen Craig to make it 5-1.

The Nationals only earned back an additional run – in the top of the ninth – with Jason Motte on the mound.

With two outs, Leon singled, allowing pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs to keep the inning alive with a single of his own. The Cardinals then called upon Trevor Rosenthal, who gave up a single to Rendon to load the bases. And, despite the clear opportunity to make things interesting, LaRoche could only muster a walk to plate the run before Werth popped out to first to end the game.

With the loss, the Nationals fall into a tie with the Miami Marlins for second place in the NL East.

Nats Nightly: Nationals lose second straight in St. Louis, 4-1 to Cardinals

Dave Nichols of the District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and “Doghouse” of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Find Additional Baseball Podcasts with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Game 66 Review: Lack of Offense Spoils Zimmermann’s Outing

Jordan Zimmermann gave the Washington Nationals all he had, but it was not enough to compete with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Lance Lynn Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Lynn held the Nats to just two hits of scoreless baseball through eight before Trevor Rosenthal closed out the Cards’ 1-0 win.

The Nats’ bats have struggled as of late, having accounted for just one run in the past 14 innings. Still, the Nats narrowly hold onto first place in the NL East, tied with the Atlanta Braves and one game up on the Miami Marlins.

As has so often been the case, the Nats failed to provide run support in an otherwise stellar pitching performance. Zimmermann tossed eight innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, while striking out five and walking just one over 76 pitches thrown.

Lynn held the Nats hitless until Jose Lobaton singled in the top of the sixth. Zimmermann popped out in the next at-bat and Denard Span lined out to end the half-inning without advancing the runner.

The Nats’ only other hit happened in the seventh when Jayson Werth singled with one out in the seventh.

Long before that point, however, the Nats were already in a one-run hole, thanks to a solo shot off the bat of Matt Adams in the second. The homer marked his fourth of the season.

With the undeserved loss, Zimmermann is now 5-3 on the season with a 2.98 ERA. Lynn now boasts a 7-4 record with a 3.69 ERA.

Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals Series Preview

After taking three-of-four from the Giants out in San Francisco, the Washington Nationals now roll into St. Louis for a three-game set with the Cardinals. District Sports Page has you all set with this series preview. [Read more...]

Washington Nationals Game 19 Review: Span Walk-off Sac Fly Earns Nats a Split with Cardinals

A day after the Bryce Harper hustle frenzy, the Washington Nationals created the right kind of drama Sunday afternoon by way of a Denard Span walk-off sacrifice fly to top the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2.

Stephen Strasburg (ND, 1-2) delivered with a solid enough outing to keep the Nats on the Cardinals’ tails. In fact, he allowed just one run until the fifth inning when, on two outs, he walked Peter Bourjos and allowed an RBI double to Shelby Miller to put St. Louis up 2-0.

The Nats pulled Strasburg after six to pinch-hit Zach Walters with two runners on. The strategy produced no runs for Washington, and it sent Strasburg back to the bench with no possibility of a win.

Through 5.1 innings pitched, St. Louis starter Shelby Miller never provided the Nats with an opportunity. Miller tossed 57 of 99 pitches for strikes, allowing no runs on four hits and five walks, while accruing seven strikeouts.

In the seventh, however, the Nats showed signs of life. With one out, Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles off reliever Carlos Martinez. LaRoche came home on a hard-hit single by Ian Desmond, and Rendon scored on a single by Danny Espinosa that tied the game 2-2.

Craig Stammen, Jerry Blevins and Rafael Soriano pitched a combined three innings of scoreless baseball in relief, setting the Nationals up for a dramatic ninth inning comeback.

The inning lacked the pomp and circumstance of a one-swing walk off, but at this point in the season, that Nats should take a split with the Cardinals in any possible fashion. With one out, Espinosa and Jose Lobaton singled back-to-back before pinch-hitter Nate McLouth drew a walk to load the bases with Seth Maness on the mound.

After working through six pitches to earn a 2-2 count, Denard Span swung at a 83 MPH changeup to fly deep enough to right to allow Espinosa to score the game-winning run.

With the victory, the Nats take 2-of-4 against the Cardinals. Rafael Soriano earned the Curly W – his first of the season.

 

Washington Nationals Game 16 Review: Nats Held to Two Hits in Wainwright’s Complete-Game Shutout

On nights when the Washington Nationals find their groove, their offense has the power to stun opposing pitchers.

Thursday was not one of those nights.

The Washington Nationals started their 11-game home stretch with a downright frustrating 8-0 loss to Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals.

From start to finish Wainwright (W, 3-1) was stellar on the mound, holding the Nats to just two hits through nine innings to record his seventh career shutout. And, from the batter’s box, he wasn’t so bad either – adding a double and a single to the Cardinals’ 14 total hits.

To make matters worse, the Nats tallied a whopping four errors on the night – two of which came from shortstop Ian Desmond, who now boasts seven errors on the season. Through 16 games, Washington has 20 total errors.

Desmond’s first error helped the Cardinals run with an early lead. The very first batter of the game – Matt Carpenter – reached first base safely after Desmond failed to field the routine drive.

But, Nats’ starter Taylor Jordan (L, 0-2) certainly committed his share of gaffes. He allowed a single to Kolten Wong and a quick double to Matt Holliday, which brought home Carpenter. Matt Adams’ grounder plated Kolten, and Yadier Molina singled in Holliday to give St. Louis an all-too-easy three-run lead.

After the first, however, Jordan regained at least brief control. Unfortunately, he lacked offense to back him up.

In fact, the bottom of the first marked the first of six total innings in which the Nats’ batters would retire in order.

The second inning proved the only time Washington threatened. Adam LaRoche led off with a walk before Desmond sought some redemption by way of a single up the middle. But, Danny Espinosa and Nate McLouth had no success in the box, and Wainwright intentionally walked Jose Lobaton to strike out Jordan in the nine-spot.

In the fourth, the Cardinals tacked on an insurance run. After Jhonny Peralta doubled with one out, Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by none other than Desmond. And, things went from bad to worse as Wainwright reached on a force attempt, which featured a miss catch error by Espinosa. The play allowed Peralta to score, but Jordan was able to prevent additional runs from crossing home plate.

In the sixth, however, Jordan simply lost control over his pitches. After striking out Peralta, he hit Jay with a runaway fastball before allowing Wainwright to single. By the time Jordan walked Carpenter to load the bases, the Nats had seen enough.

Unfortunately, reliever Blake Treinen had no added luck.

He struck out Wong on a 96-MPH fastball, but allowed Holliday to single in Jay, before Adams singled in both Wainwright and Carpenter.

Despite the sloppy inning and an added run in the seventh, Nationals manager Matt Williams seemingly allowed Treinen to sweat it out until the ninth.

When it came time for Jerry Blevins to take the mound, the Nats were down eight runs and had officially tallied twice as many errors as hits, thanks to a fielding error by Jayson Werth in the top of the eighth. Werth appeared to have lost a line drive by Molina in the lights as he charged forward with no hope of coming close to catching the ball.

The Nats will will want to turn their luck around tonight with left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.50) taking on Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.89).

Last season, the Nats went 0-6 against St. Louis.

 

 

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Nats dump Cards 11-1

Stephen Strasburg gave up one run on two hits and two walks in three innings, but the Nats offense pounded out 11 runs on 15 hits as the Washington Nationals dumped the St. Louis Cardinals 11-1 at Space Coast Stadium in Viera on Sunday.

Strasburg wasn’t the sharpest in his second appearance, as he walked the first two batters he faced and did not record a strikeout. He did generate five ground ball outs and induced two double plays.

The rest of the pitchers that followed were near perfect. Matt Purke, Drew Storen, Craig Stammen, Christian Garcia and Luis Ayala combined for six innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and no walks, striking out four — three by Garcia in his inning of work.

To be fair, the Cardinals brought very few major league players for the road trip up U.S. 95.

Anthony Rendon led off and went 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs and an RBI. Wilson Ramos — hitting .563 this spring — went 2-for-3 with a run and 3 RBIs and Koyie Hill drove in two. Tyler Moore added a pair of hits in two trips.

The Nats host the Houston Astros at 6:05 on Monday.

 

Washington Nationals Game 159 Review: Zimmermann’s 20-win bid falls short in 4-1 loss

Jordan Zimmermann’s bit to become the only N.L. pitcher with 20 wins ended Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nats’ righty didn’t have his best day, and unfortunately his teammates still appear to be sleepwalking a bit following their ouster from the playoff chase on Monday.

With the win, the Cardinals reduced their “magic number” to two to win the N.L. Central.

The Nats broke out first in the opening frame against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller (W, 15-9, 3.06). Denard Span drew a walk leading off and promptly stole second. Ryan Zimmerman bounced on in front of the plate and was thrown out, but Span moved up to third. After Jayson Werth walked, Bryce Harper singled to center to being Span home. But the rally ended there, as Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche both flied out with just the one run scored.

The Cards tied it up in the third. Daniel Descalso led off the inning with a double to deep center, took third on Miller’s sacrifice, and scored on Matt Carpenter’s ground out to first.

Zimmermann (L, 19-9, 3.25) ran into trouble in the fourth. He hit Matt Holliday with his first pitch of the inning, then gave up a double to Matt Adams to put runners at second and third. Yadier Molina then singled to center, scoring both. Pitching coach Steve McCatty came out to settle Zimmermann down and it worked, as he retired the next three batters in order.

But the Nats leading winner this season gave up a solo homer to Adams in the sixth, and that was pretty much the book on the three-game sweep for the Redbirds. Zimmermann went seven innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and ended with just two strikeouts.

THE GOOD: Not a whole lot. The Nats only managed five hits and looked rather like they were still playing with a “knocked-from-the-playoffs” hangover.

THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond were both 0-for-4 and stranded three base runners.

THE UGLY: The Nats have lost four of their last five games.

THE STATS: 5 hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. 1-for-5 with RISP, 5 LOB. E: Desmond (20, throw), 1 DP.

NEXT GAME: Thursday in Arizona at 9:40 pm ET. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.02) faces Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.28).

Nats Nightly: Wacha’s no-hit bit ends in 9th; Nats lose 2-0

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 2-0 loss the the St. Louis Cardinals and Michael Wacha’s no-hit bit.

Washington Nationals Game 158 Review: Zimmerman breaks up no-no in 9th but Nats lose 2-0

ROOKIE MICHAEL WACHA PITCHES 8 2/3 NO HIT INNINGS

St. Louis Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha stood one out away from achieving baseball immortality having thrown 8 2/3 innings without allowing a single hit. All that stood in the way of history was Ryan Zimmerman.

Unfortunately for Wacha, Zimmerman bounced a high chopper up the middle which ticked off Wacha’s glove. Shortstop Pete Kozma fielded it barehanded and threw to first, but the rushed, off-balanced throw pulled Matt Adams off the bag and Zimmerman eluded the sweeping tag.

Just like that, a weak ground ball turned into a single, and Wacha’s attempt at history passed.

Unfortunately for the Nats, Jayson Werth — representing the tying run — grounded out to first against reliever Trevor Rosenthal, so the Cardinals escaped with a 2-0 win regardless.

The Cardinals, still in a battle for first place in the N.L. Central with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, picked up single runs in the third and fourth innings against Nats starter Gio Gonzalez (L, 11-8, 3.36, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 6 K).

In the third, Matt Carpenter hit a two-out double and came home on a single by Shane Robinson. The next inning, Adams singled to lead off and scored on Yadier Molina’s RBI double.

The rest was all Wacha. The 22-year-old rookie, who made his debut in May and was making his ninth start of the season, was superb. Working mostly with his fastball and changeup, Wacha kept the Nats hitters off balance all night and he struck out nine in total.

The Nats got one base runner in the fifth, when Adam LaRoche’s routine ground ball got through second baseman Carpenter, a second in the seventh when Zimmerman walked, and a third when LaRoche walked in the eighth. But Wilson Ramos grounded into a double play to erase LaRoche.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 1:45 pm ET. Jordan Zimmermann (19-8, 3.18) faces Shelby Miller (14-9, 3.12)

 

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